Monday, August 24, 2020

麺劇場 玄瑛 (Mengekijou Genei in Fukuoka)

麺劇場 玄瑛

Genei is a famous shop with a strange feature. The shop is designed to feel like a stadium, with customers as fans and the ramen chef as the show. It makes sense when you know that shop was opened by Hideki Irie, once a contestant on Iron Chef Japan.

I expected a packed stadium, with all 20 seats filled up. Instead, it was only me and one other random foreigner in the crowd. Mengekijo (麺劇場) literally means noodle theater, and this off-broadway show was struggling.

Noodles are made with a high alkaline content for a slippery slurp. The shoyu is also made in house. Chef Irie-san ate at over 700 ramen shops in one year to prepare his own ramen, taking inspiration from around the country.

Choose between tonkotsu, shoyu, shrimp shoyu, and two kinds of tantanmen.

The broth in the shiokaoru (literally ocean aroma) is made from katsuo, flying fish, shiitake mushroom, and rishiri or raosu kombu kelp. It's a nice break from the legendary tonkotsu restaurants that cover Fukuoka.

I should note that this spot led to GENEI WAGAN, the spot in Tokyo that does an expensive ramen tasting course. This shop is quite popular with foreigners, especially after being featured on some prominent YouTube videos, especially the Worth It video. I could rant about that and I could rant about expensive ramen, but I won't.

Actually, I will, as I finally visited GENEI WAGAN a few weeks after this one.

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